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Phuket Business: Krabi marina to steam ahead



PHUKET: Two months ahead of Krabi Boat Lagoon’s (KBL) first anniversary, the owners of the Thai Andaman coastal province’s only full-service, full-facility marina, remain optimistic about the region’s tourism, hospitality and boating future.

Speaking to the Phuket Gazette at KBL’s 18-year-old brand-parent Phuket Boat Lagoon (PBL), Sriya Yongsakul, the deputy managing director of both marinas, affirmed that all objectives for the new facility’s first year have been satisfactorily met.

“Our initial approach has involved much trial… this is so we can continue to develop and
improve our facilities and explore new opportunities.”

Born and raised in Phuket, Sriya, the daughter of PBL’s founder, Kanit Yongsakul, earned her Masters in International Management from the University of Exeter in England, and has been working for the family business since 2003.

“We now have about 50 boats on site at any given time, occupying most of the 80 wet berths and 100 hard-stands available [at KBL]. We aim to have full occupancy by the end of 2014, and there is no reason for me to believe that we can’t meet this goal, ” she said.
Mrs Sriya’s optimism comes in contrast to concerns by some industry professionals that the current downtrend in arrivals from traditional tourism markets will have critical implications for the region’s hospitality and tourism sectors.

“Our core clientele base has shifted a lot, from Europe (particularly Scandinavia) to Russian, Chinese and other Asian markets.

“However, we view this more as an opportunity rather than an obstacle,” she said.

Mrs Sriya pointed out that, regardless of the changing market landscape, demand for all-inclusive services and facilities remains strong.

“We’re not necessarily aiming for any one particular market. Our targets, no matter where they come from, require premium services and modern conveniences at competitive rates,” she said.

Indeed, Mrs Sriya affirmed that the new 300-million-baht marina, the only one in the province that is equipped with a 50 tonne travel lift, is poised to meet growing regional demand for both wet berths and hard stands.

Asked about the differences between KBL and PBL, Mrs Sriya explained that the marina in Krabi is smaller and more convenient to access than its Phuket parent.

“KBL is only 200 meters inland whereas accessing PBL, which is about two kilometers inland along a narrow channel, requires more logistical planning that depends on boating queues and tide levels,” she said.

In addition to the marina, the property is also being developed to include retail and residential space, with the first of four 16-unit low-rise condominiums set to be completed by January.

— Steven Layne


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